AMERICAN FORK, Utah (ABC4 News) – It’s a battle parents fight twice a day, trying to get your kids to brush their teeth and learn good habits.

The Centers for Disease Control says most children aren’t brushing early enough and only once a day.

Fifty percent of children have a cavity before they turn 5 years old. As a result, the CDC reports an increase in child oral surgeries.
The struggle is real with 3-year-old Emmett.

“Make sure your attitude is good even if it requires a headlock, but do it with all the love in your heart,” said Clayton Hansen, DDS. 

And not a form of punishment. Hansen says take what you can get.
“Sometimes you don’t do good as others but if you’re consistent they will come around eventually.”

Dr. Hansen says keep the fun in brushing.

“Maybe practice singing your ABCs while brushing or holding their breath.”

It’s recommended kids brush twice a day for 2 minutes, even use a timer to keep them interested. 
Or colored tablets to show where kids need to brush.
“Sadly, a lot of what we treat would be preventable,” said Hansen.

Kids’ first dental visit should be before they turn one.

“If mom and dad will follow the rule: tell, show and do. Tell them how to take care of their teeth. Show them how to do it and do have them catch you brushing your teeth. They will mirror what you do. Unfortunately, some parents still have the attitude it’s OK they’re just baby teeth they’ll fall out.” 

Dr. Hansen says that can be unhealthy for the child who may not know to complain about a toothache and it could impact the development of permanent teeth.

“As any parent knows, you choose your battles. This is one you need to win. Stay consistent and don’t give up.”

The Surgeon General says 50 million hours of school are missed every year because of dental problems.

The CDC says brush teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts, as early as 6 months old. You can use fluoride at 2 years old.